gobble up!

The Philippines have forever been sidetracked when it comes to the richness of its food. It couldn't be described as the best in Asia but it definitely has character so Filipino in taste. Living in a country where it's gastronomically known around the world, I was often asked what a typical Filipino menu is & I always list the common main dishes as adobo, sinigang, karekare then end up feeling irrelevant to a country where food is part of their culture. Keeping food warm, a common site in the Philippines

It is always when everything is out of sight that we naturally ransack the tastes you were practically born with. As disgusting the bagoong (shrimp paste) is, I freak out without a stock in my fridge. The taste of dried fish brings me home to bright & warm breakfasts. The sinigang broth reminds me of noisy family lunches. Having minimal access to these tastes logically made me appreciate more what is pinoy. With 7,107 islands, there would be as much ways to make adobo & with so many islands, there is as much island specialties to which I admit, have not tasted even half of them.

So one day, when my friend & I were arguing about the French having recipes for bulalo, the bone marrow, she told me as a matter of factly that Anthony Bourdain, featured it on his show "No Reservations." The curious me, and so out of the loop, I watched his episode on the Philippines. Watch No Reservations -Philippines (on this link, follow the trail to the 5 part episode) & tell me if you really know much about Filipino cuisine. And they didn't feature as much specialty. Do note the Pampanga scene - "Pampanga first before the Philippines."

The Filipino cuisine can boast its diverse menu. Sure the presentation sometimes can spoil your appetite but the taste is distinct that can be likewise rooted from the assortment of its ancestors. Sure I don't eat so much of anything from the inside but the French cuisine have been doing this dating back to many centuries ago & made popular by the peasants. They just have the language to make it more alluring & class. While the French call it the "boudin noir," the Filipinos call it the "betamax." Whoever names food betamax?!

The mixing & the fusion from many different forefathers have made the Filipino cuisine special in its own way. The taste might not cater to everybody but I am proud of the savors I was born with. In a country where people eat 5 times a day, who said food is not part of their culture? There are still so many to explore & discover in Philippine food & like in France, every region, or island has its own specialty. How much do you know your Filipino cuisine? Kain na!*

You can also watch No Reservations -France (again follow the trail to the 5 part episode) & note the rat trap shop from the Pixar movie Ratatouille. It's freaking real!

* Kain na! is the Filipino's bon appetit, loosely translated as "Let's eat!"


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. I just had my lunch but after reading your post I think....I AM DEAD HUNGRY!

    I am also as proud as you are with our Filipino cuisine. It maybe a mixture of Eastern and Western gastronomy (namely Spanish, Chinese, Malays and American influences) but without the Pinoy touch Adobo will not be our National Dish!

    As the saying goes, Filipino food was sauted by Malay, tossed up by the Chinese, spiced up by the Spanish and french-fried by the Americans :D !

    Next time you come to Marseille I will cook Batchoy as my Dad used to cook for us. Pinapaitan and Higado from the Ilokanos who taught me how to cook these delicious recipe.

  2. You are so right about the sauteing, tossing, spicing & well, french frying, Haze :) I also learned new things from the show like the kabingan. They also eat the whole goat like the chicken! Thanks for the proposal I wouldn't say no to :)

  3. I love Filipino food. I'm always craving my mum's cooking. Since moving to France, I've learnt to pancit palabok, kare kare, longanisa and bicho bicho. I love french food too. I just love to eat!

  4. Hi Makis,
    My mother was exactly like that; she'd never go without Filipino condiments in the fridge. I remember her eating the most sour green apple she could find and eating it with shrimp paste. She pretended it was Philippine green mangos which is hard to find here. My dad was all about the rice. If lunch consisted of sandwich and chips, it'd just be a snack for him. He needed ulam and kanin.

    As for me, the craving for Filipino food comes and goes. And since I read this, I'm definitely in the craving mood. Like Haze, I've just eaten (breakfast) but I could go for some rice and adobo:) Also ginataang pako or actually ginataan anything would be nice too. Or how about just a simple fried tilapia with the calamansi and toyo sawsawan. Add banana-que and kamote-que... Then let's have lechon or lechon kawali for Xav. Oh and then pancit! I could go on and on. Makis, I blame you for this craving - I'm going to feel it for a long long time:)

  5. It's funny because I just saw No Reservation Philippines too. I think it could have been done better and covered more regions and dishes. Also, I feel like each places he went to was staged. Do you notice how clean China Town? Anyway, it made me crave for alimasag with gata.

  6. Wow, Lu, you can cook all those, even the longanisa??? Man, now I'm really craving for palabok!

    Hi Joanne! Yes, I never run out of anything Filipino or asian. My kitchen cabinets always have cans of coconut milk, pancit canton noodles, bottles of nata de coco, glutinous rice & flour. Anything that can make something :) And I eat more when I eat asian than French. Go satisfy your cravings!

    I agree, Loraine, the show could have really done a lot better. And you'll be surprised on how clean Manila is, or at least where I've been like Las Pinas, Malate, Pasay. My husband & I were really happy to see how clean these places are. But of course the pinoy will stage a nice meal for the show, it's culture to be extravagant when it comes to food :) And it's also the ginataang alimasag that made me drool.

  7. your post make me crave for filipino food. we have plenty of asian resto in munich but not really filipino food. There was one named "cafe manila" not sure though but was closed, i think a year ago. We therefore need to cook one if were craving for our dishes.

    i like your entries, been new to blogging hope you can drop by at www.joe-ann.tongson.com. thanks.

  8. Hi Joe-ann! Sorry for the late reply. My notification is acting up on my email. Welcome to my blog!

    Yes, there have been numerous attempts of Filipino restos in Paris but never stay open. I think we have to be more creative to cater to the taste of the host country.

    Will visit your blog!

  9. We are pleased to announce the launch of The Angeles City Pages. After months of hard work we present to you the most comprehensive online business directory for Angeles City. The Angeles City Pages is here to provide a one stop shop for tourists, expats and locals.